Saturday, 16 November 2019
We were delighted to welcome back Dr Kate Croft to deliver our annual lecture ‘Women of Excellent Understanding: The Wives and Daughters of the Lunar Society‘. The talk looked at some of the Lunar Society wives and daughters to consider the role they played in their husbands’ businesses as well as their scientific investigations and philosophical thought. We learned about Mary Priestley, Honora Edgeworth, Sally Wedgwood and her daughter Sarah, and the Peggy and Ann, the two wives of James Watt. Kate’s clear presentation of her research left us in no doubt that these women most certainly did play an important role.
Tuesday, 20 August 2019
We enjoyed a fascinating and informative guided tour of Chillington Hall and gardens, a cream tea on the terrace in glorious sunshine, followed by a tractor ride to the lake to enjoy Capability Brown’s landscaping and ‘eye-catcher’ architectural features in the park. The Hall has been the home of the Giffard family for over 800 years; the present Georgian house is the third to have occupied the site.
Wednesday, 10 July 2019
Described as Britain’s finest half-timbered house, Pitchford Hall was owned by the Colthurst family for more than 500 years before being sold in 1992. Now on the ‘at Risk’ register, the house has been bought back by Rowena Colthurst and her husband, who are embarking on the massive task of saving it, following 25 years of neglect. The house is named after a natural pitch well in the grounds. Prince Rupert hid from the Roundheads in the priest-hole here during the Civil War and Princess (later Queen) Victoria played in the Tudor-style treehouse.
We had a very good visit. We were split into four groups each with our own guide who were very knowledgeable and gave us a very detailed view of the house and its history. Tea and cake afterwards was delicious.
Shrewsbury School Chapel
Thursday, 6 June 2019
We were delighted to be able to hold our Annual General Meeting in the Moser Library building at Shrewsbury School. This was followed by a guided tour of the very special Taylor Library kindly hosted by the Taylor Librarian and Archivist Dr Robin Brooke-Smith and his assistant Naomi Nicholas. We also saw items from the school archive and its collection of water colours in the gallery of the Moser Library where we enjoyed afternoon tea. Our tour concluded with a visit to the school chapel built in 1882.
Wednesday, 1 May 2019
Local historian and our newsletter editor Andrew Pattison presented a very informative overview of the industrial history of Coleham at the Barnabas Centre which was an excellent introduction to our tour of Coleham Pumping Station. The gentlemen volunteers at the Pumping Station demonstrated their enthusiasm and expert knowledge in guiding us round the building and describing the impressive machinery which was surprisingly immaculate. Electric motors in lieu of steam enabled us to see some action which added to the sense of wonder at the ingenuity of the design. An excellent afternoon enjoyed by 30 people.
Saturday, 23 March 2019
We enjoyed a delightful and informative afternoon at Shrewsbury Cathedral discovering how the Roman Catholic faith was persecuted and later emancipated in both a national and county perspective. Helen Haynes provided an overview of the key developments and the records that are available at Shropshire Archives. Father Phillips described the history of the building and how it has developed since it was built in 1856, and led us on a tour of the cathedral.
Saturday, 24 November 2018
We were delighted to welcome Dr Kate Croft from the University of Birmingham to deliver our annual lecture: ‘Healthy and Expedient’: Childcare and Charity at the Shrewsbury Foundling Hospital 1759-1772
The Foundling Hospital in London is well-known as an example of eighteenth-century philanthropy and childcare. What is less well-known is the involvement of several branch hospitals that were set up in during the time known as ‘General Reception’. One of these branch hospitals was based in the Midlands, at Shrewsbury in Shropshire. Kate’s talk looked at the history of the Shrewsbury Foundling hospital, its relationship with Thomas Coram’s London hospital, and the lives of children who lived there.
Thursday, 19 July 2018
Alumni officer and archivist Julie Brook led a splendid afternoon with a talk about the legacy of Thomas Harper Adams and a visit to the Bamford Library.
We learned that Thomas Harper Adams was a Shropshire farmer who died in 1892 leaving a substantial estate he had inherited from his godfather and brother. He left instructions in his will for the founding of a college ‘for the purpose of teaching practical and theoretical agriculture‘.
The college was built on farmland in 1901 with lecture rooms downstairs and dormitories upstairs and has thrived as an independent establishment ever since.
By contrast the Bamford Library was built in 2002 and officially opened in 2004 with every modern facility for today’s students.
Harper Adams rose
Tuesday, 12 June 2018
The Friends’ AGM this year was held in the former stables at the Flax Mill Maltings. Penny Ward gave a talk on the history of the Flax Mill and how it came to be sited in Shrewsbury, its connections with the Shropshire canal and the railway, its time as a maltings, and subsequent decline. Flax Mill administrator Richard Benjamin then described the extensive renovations currently in progress and declared that the mill building would open in the spring of 2021. We then had a guided tour of the site from Penny to conclude our visit.
Members of the FSA Committee
Tuesday, 22 May 2018
A friendly welcome, a fascinating tour and wonderful tea were the highlights of our visit to Hardwick Hall, a grand Grade II* listed Georgian Hall of three floors and a cellar. The house was built by John Kynaston who had inherited the land in 1693 and finished the house before his death in 1733.